The company has begun hiring “aggressively” for the project in recent weeks, say people familiar with Apple’s plans for the wearable device, a move that shows it has stepped up development but which raises questions over the ability of its own engineers to develop wearable technology.
The endeavour is said to have presented “hard engineering problems that they’ve not been able to solve." This suggests that its launch is a ways away and could be seen as disappointing news for investors.
The timing of the hiring spree implied the iWatch would not be ready for launch until the latter part of next year, said people familiar with Apple’s thinking, a blow to some investors who have been eager to see evidence that Apple’s innovators still have the ability to create or redefine new product categories.
Apple's hiring spree is said to have included acqui-hires of early stage startups working on connected devices. Apple also hired Paul Deneve, the outgoing chief executive of fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. Additionally, the company has been providing monetary incentives for its current talent to remain with the company.
On the company's last earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services that we can't wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014.”